Soldiers Help Veteran's Dream Come True
(October 27, 2010)
Pfc. Brandon Eady and Pfc. Lucas Whittaker, both light-wheeled vehicle mechanics assigned to the 103d Engineer Company, excavate a former retaining wall outside a local veteran's home in Mansfield Oct. 23, 2010. Eady is a native if Miami. Whittaker is a native of Beckley, W.Va.
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. -- Soldiers from
the 103d Engineer Company spent their weekend
giving back to the community by volunteering
their time and skill to rebuild a local
veteran's home in preparation for his return
from a two-year stay at a long-term care
facility after surviving a stroke.
What began as a post tradition to participate in
‘Make a Difference Day' has become a project
that will span over the next month due to the
meticulous detail and dedication of nine
“When I do a job, I want to make sure it's done
right,” said Sgt. Joseph Feick, an equipment
operator assigned to the 103d Engineer Company.
“It may take longer than we expected, but I want
the finished product to be something safe and
sound... something we all can be proud of.”
Reconstruction will consist of widening doorways
inside the home for wheelchair access, repairing
a retaining wall that will support a new
driveway and paved ramp leading into the home,
and a complete renovation of the downstairs
bathroom to become fully handicap accessible.
The project began Saturday, Oct. 24, in
Mansfield and has been funded solely by the
veteran, Wright Bogart's daughter, Rhonda
“On Father's Day, Wright asked to go home and I
just didn't know how we could make that happen,”
He had planned to retire in his home and had set aside a specific amount of
money to make that happen, but renovating the home for wheelchair accessibility
and paying for around-the-clock care weren't exactly calculated into the initial
cost, she added.|
The project finally began to come together when Bogart's friends and family
reached out to the community for help.
Local Mansfield companies began to donate equipment and other resources to
anyone who would volunteer their time and take on the renovation project.
“Helping Mr. Bogart was a matter of ‘if' we could help out, but ‘when' we could
start,” said Cpt. Todd Bradford, the 103d Engineer Company commander. “Make a
Difference Day provided a great opportunity by allowing us the time to help out
a fellow Soldier.”
Once the soldiers were authorized to put their skills to work, they began
coordinating with Stanton to assess the needs of Bogart and put together a plan
of action to make Bogart's dream of coming home, a reality.
“My dad hasn't had much to look forward to after he was told that he wouldn't
fully recover, but returning to his home, that he prepared to retire in...that is
something I know he is greatly looking forward to,” said Stanton. “Right now, it
seems that ‘thank-you' just isn't enough.”
Bogart was drafted during the Vietnam War and served as a military policeman. He
worked at the Electric Co Op, Se Ma No in Mansfield. Bogart served on the
Missouri Silver Haired Legislature and was on the Southwest Missouri Office on
Aging Board of Directors.
Article and photo by Army Sgt. Heather Denby
4th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade
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